Biology (B.S.B.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. William S. Irby


The pitcher-plant mosquito, Wyeomyia smithii, utilizes carbon dioxide receptors primarily on their maxillary palps to seek potential hosts for blood meals. Two disjunct populations of W. smithii were analyzed to test for differences in carbon dioxide sensitivity that would correlate to varying levels of autogeny, ranging from the autogenous Northern populations (from North Carolina through Canada) to the anautonenous Southern populations (Florida – Louisiana), with the Georgia population exhibiting a shift from autogeny to anautogeny over the past two decades. I compared Georgia (Tattnall Co.) and Florida populations using blood feeding assays and olfactometry assays. Willingness to blood feed was assessed using hand-in-cage assays, and olfactometry assays were conducted using a box dual-choice olfactometer to determine decision-making when exposed to a carbon dioxide source. Results demonstrated that the Southern population was more likely to take a blood meal than the Tattnall County population and that the Southern population has a higher sensitivity to carbon dioxide than the Tattnall County population. This may be explained by differences in environmental conditions between the two habitats.